Vernon and North Okanagan
Family of 7 homeless after fire
Oct 28, 2013 / 1:29 pm
A family of seven, including two small children, is homeless after a fire gutted their home early Saturday morning.
The fire department was called to the home at 3:21 a.m. at 3700 Commonage Crescent, when they arrived the top corner unit of the four-plex was already engulfed.
Fire inspectors were on the scene Monday morning and say it likely started in the kitchen.
Angry neighbours have come forward blaming the tenants and calling it a ‘party house.’
Deputy Fire Chief Lowrie Skolrood says an altercation did occur while his team was battling the blaze and one person, he heard was drunk, was taken away by RCMP, but he did not witness it himself. Skolrood says he doesn’t know what happened or why, just that there was a fight.
However one neighbour is standing up for the family. Rosie Jameson lives across the street and often babysits the 3 and 4-year-old boys, who share the small unit with their parents, aunt, and grandparents.
Jameson says the house is not a party house and that the tenants are good hard working people that enjoy a drink after work like everyone else.
“The other neighbour that said it is a party house is wrong, it’s not at all. They have their drinks after work just to wind down for the day, otherwise they don’t. I babysit the kids when they go to work. They are hard workers, all of them,” claims Jameson.
She admits that the adults were drinking Friday night while she babysat the little ones, but says there was no party and they were in bed long before the fire started.
“I was asleep and then I heard commotion like screaming and stuff and I looked out the window and was like whoa and I ran onto the street,” says Jameson. She then took the family into her home to calm them down and await help.
Fire investigators have not determined the exact cause, but do not believe it was intentional.
The three other units in the building are currently evacuated and sustained some water and smoke damage; its unknown when or if those tenants will be able to return home.
The family of seven is now busy looking for a new home while fire inspectors continue the investigation.
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